An extremely popular event is held each year in the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in The Netherlands. A radio station, NPO Radio 2, hosts a week-long programme playing what listeners vote to be the best 2,000 songs of all time. The following article was written by one of the contributors to our Dutch-language ‘Postzegelblog’ website, Randy Koo:
The polling stations are closed. And for the 16th year the six-minute and six-second mini rock opera song Bohemian Rhapsody (1975) by the band Queen is number 1 in the TOP2000. Meanwhile, a film (biopic) with the same title has recently appeared in the cinema. How did Queen come into being and why is Freddie Mercury so important to the music world?
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The stamp depicted on the left was issued by Ascension Island in 1979 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of the great British explorer, cartographer, navigator and Royal Navy Captain, James Cook. In both of the stamp sets below, James Cook’s chronometer appears. It is, specifically, a marine chronometer made by the man who invented the marine chronometer in 1730. He was Englishman John Harrison (1693-1776). This was the first of a series of chronometers that enabled accurate marine navigation.
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October the second was the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of the most influential men of the 20th Century, Mahatma Gandhi (born 1869 – assassinated 1948). In commemoration India Post have issued the fine stamp sheet containing seven circular stamps shown below.
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In 1792 a book written by the lady whose portrait adorns the above stamp issued by Great Britain in 2009 became the first book to be published in the English language on the subject of what we now might call feminism.
That lady was Mary Wollstonecroft, whose book “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” could possibly have been influenced by Frenchwoman Olympe de Gouges whose pamphlet “Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne” (Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the [Female] Citizen), was published in France in 1791. This was written in response to the 1789 document known as the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the (Male) Citizen” (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen). Gouges’s manifesto asserted that women are equal to men in society and, as such, entitled to the same citizenship rights.
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I’ve long been fascinated by the incredible feats of the brave and extremely tough men who set off from Europe and Scandinavia in search of fabled lands. It’s possible that those featured in this article were preceded by unknown explorers but here we mention those whose exploits are confirmed in history.
The man commemorated on the 1968 USA stamp above is Leif Erikson, the first known European to have discovered continental North America before Christopher Columbus. There are many other statues of Erikson in various cities in America and many countries have featured the exploits of the 10th Century Icelander on postage stamps such as those below.
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Below you can see just a small selection of stamps recently added to PostBeeld’s enormous stock of stamps. Please visit the website if you wish to view more. If you are a particular collector of Germany, Thurn and Taxis stamps we have acquired a collection that includes the stamps below from 1859 and many, many more.
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The beautiful pictographic map by the artist William Henry Jackson seen in this article shows the first United States of America Pony Express mail delivery route, a distance of 1,800 miles, from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. It has an inscription by author Howard Roscoe Driggs which reads:
“Over this historic route daring young Americans on fleet horses sped night and day while other courageous men kept and supplied the stations along the far-flung, dangerous line. This pioneer fast mail service, maintained despite serious loss to its patriotic promoters, made a notable contribution to our national welfare. The Pony Express, following the direct northern route, brought our far west closer to our east, thereby helping to hold our frontier territory with its treasures of gold in our union. It blazed the way for the overland stage to California, hastened the building of the first transcontinental railroad and telegraph and added one of the most stirring chapters to the history of America’s making.”
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Investigating the origin of the English-language term “Gordon Bennett”, once commonly used as an expression of surprise, I came to the conclusion that there does not seem to be a definitive explanation. Various theories abound. What is certain is that a motor car race held in Ireland in 1903, and a hot-air balloon race first held in 1906, was named after a certain Gordon Bennett. In tracing the origins of Gordon Bennett, I discovered that there were two famous Gordon Bennetts who might have been the source.
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Just added to stock at PostBeeld are some interesting stamps from the Dutch Dependencies. The Queen Wilhelmina 1901 Curacao overprints below are among them.
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